The Best Way To Get Ahead in Life

September 24, 2010 | 16 comments

I’m northbound, and this refuge beckons, streaming colored light through little windows. It’s a six-person House of God surrounded by rain-drenched cornfields.

Do I really have time to stop? And I ask this, too: Can I really afford not to stop?

I take a detour from my 60-mile-per-hour life, and pull onto the roadside driveway. Because every heart on pilgrimage needs rest stops on the journey home.

I park alongside a wee chapel with a creaky wooden door. I’m still miles from home, and I have an appointment on the calendar, but I stop anyhow, because I want to get a better glimpse of my destination.

And I’m thinking that the best way to really get ahead in life is to stop moving altogether.

I turn off the ignition, and move toward stillness. I turn the knob and peek inside. I’m looking for instructions here on the best way home. Does anyone know the best way home?

I’ve been in this place before, where the Bible is always spread open and the light is always on.

I stopped last fall, as a weary traveler in need of a respite from my interstate-speed life.

Funny, how life repeats itself. Is this a rerun of a past episode? Did someone just hit rewind on my life? And can I please, please hit the pause button right here, and stay rooted in these spirit-calming verses spread open on the altar?

I bow low, bent, dropping my forehead onto His Word to pray.

Life is busy, I tell Him, but rest has come easier this past year. And I thank God for that.

When life moves fast again, Lord — and I know it will — will You keep on grabbing the reins, tugging me back closer to You?

I’m in a different place than I was a year ago … at least I think so. I hope?

Am I different, God? I ask Him. Have I grown?

Eleven months have passed since I last stopped here. In the guest book, I find my signature, 28 pages back, and a lot of life has spun on this axis in the last 337 days.

The guy who signed in after me last October reminds the weary traveler: “There might not be a tomorrow.”

What if I really am closer to Home than I think?

I don’t know how far I’ve got to go, but I’ve moved forward and — I pray — closer to Him, with a more restful spirit.

I have grown, and I have found stillness, but there’s something more I need, and I come here thirsty for it: more and more … and more of Him.

“Make Yourself my all-consuming passion,” I whisper.

And if there’s any prayer that a person can pray, why would He not answer this one?

I flip the pages on the altar Bible, search the Scriptures, and these words are the ones I find:

“And ye shall seek me and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” — Jeremiah 29:13

Before I go, I grab the pen, etching my place here on this rest stop. I leave the light on for the next weary sojourner, and I leave to head home.

And I’ve found my way home.
And He really is my Way home.

by | September 24, 2010 | 16 comments


  1. Andrea

    Oh, Jennifer….I am deeply touched by this post! It was "just" what I needed in this moment….the gentle reminder that "the LIGHT" is always on and I am always "close to home!"

    Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

  2. Linda

    Jennifer – you so often write my heart. This seeking and searching…I fear that I don't do it well. I must do it with all my heart.

  3. Nancy

    "Every heart on pilgrimage needs rest stops on the journey home." How I wish I'd read those words when I was a young mother, zealous to raise my children well, to do what I thought needed to be done. I tell young mothers now that, if Elijah needed to lie down under a broom tree and rest and receive food and drink from the Lord, that maybe they too need to stop, rest, and feed on Him. Beautiful post. Thank you for refreshing me today.

  4. KJ

    very sweet as always…

  5. Stephani

    I was so curious about what the "whole" chapel looked like that I searched for it on the internet. I found it! What a quaint little chapel. It reminded me of two places; the little white country church that I got married in, and the prayer chapel on my small college campus where I used to go at night, sit on a pew, and do my devotions. I was usually the only one there, but from time to time other students would come in to pray or read or just sit and be quiet.

  6. alicia

    Oh the fond memories of I have of that little chapel. As a child, Grandma would agree to stop there with us as we traveled from Sioux Center to Doon and back again. As a high schooler painting the old siding (as I was a member of Bethel CRC). My kids asked recently about it, thanks for the reminder that it is always time to stop there and to remember.

  7. Lyla Lindquist

    I hope not to ever reach the day when nothing has changed in me over the past year. This is a good place for you to use as a checkpoint, no?

    Hope it stays on your route for a long, long time.

  8. Jennifer

    I remember this little chapel in your post last year. The idea of a roadside sanctuary for rest and prayer still speaks to me.

  9. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Stephani — Glad you found it online! Cool. I didn't realize it. I'll take a look myself. It's a charming little place; I see it on my commute home from the college (where I teach).

    Lyla — A checkpoint, yes. I rather like that idea.

  10. RCUBEs

    So often, we forget to pause amidst the busyness. I remember the old post you wrote about this chapel.

    "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…" Where are we gonna' go if we don't make time to seek Him? To know that He's always there is so comforting, that we are not alone in this journey until we return Home. God bless.

  11. Deidra

    The questions you ask here are wonderful. I will carry them with me today. And that last photo.

  12. Kathleen Overby

    Two of the highways over the Cascades boast traveler's rest chapels. One is in the woods. The other in a field alongside the road. Their miniature stature belies the gigantic influence of encouragement and sustenance they have offered through the years. I feel kindred with the souls who knew we needed such a place. Such a place 'with the light on'. Sweet Jennifer.

  13. Michelle

    My prayer exactly..

    "Make Yourself my all-consuming passion"

  14. jlmoss

    My parents were engaged in that chapel over 40 years ago. I remember driving by as a kid and always asking my mom their story at that chapel.

  15. thesavingmomparents

    Seems like quietly seeking is on my menu planner today. Thanks for your words. ~Jessica

  16. Ann Kroeker

    "I'm thinking that the best way to really get ahead in life is to stop moving altogether."

    Beautifully put; the very heart of Sabbath.

    I took a nap this afternoon–much less spiritually romantic than your stop at the roadside chapel, but it was just what I needed on this Sunday afternoon–to stop moving altogether…and rest.

    Resting with you,


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